We love Jess Yu - Reduce Use Products & Tips
We met Jess Yu couple weeks ago during our talk at the Business Space Ibiza, where Jess works. We instantly connected and we started to share ideas and tips on how to travel plastic free, how to plan ahead, how to get into your reuse, reduce, recycle habit.
Jess kindly agreed to share her tips & tricks from growing up in Los Angeles which she now translates and compliments into her new island Ibiza living.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us Jess!
"Ibiza has always had this intense party-focused connotation attached to its name in the states, even before the first time I visited this island in the peak of its season during my exchange program in Barcelona. I thought Barcelona was party-heavy until I arrived in Ibiza.
Four years ago in the middle of June, I was staying at this little hostel right on Figueretas celebrating a friend's birthday. We partied, ate, and slept (very little) as much as we could for the week that we were here, participating as how we thought "locals" do. People were coming up to us at the beach trying to sell tickets for Pacha (five in just 30 minutes), bar managers were hollering at us across the street to come and buy tickets for Space, and even restaurant owners were asking if we had tickets to Amnesia when taking our orders.
It was too much. I'm all for a good time, especially if there's good music involved, but it was too overwhelming.
I felt like I was being inundated and pressured to just party, party, party and I thought this was all the island had to offer. It felt as if Las Vegas had decided to set up shop on an island.
I was in disbelief that people could party that hard and not feel any remorse otherwise. And I left feeling relieved and feeling like I never wanted to return. Ever.
Fast forward four years later to today and I could not be happier being on this island.
Spending the winter in Ibiza has exposed me to parts of the island that I call home now. The beaches and waters take your breath away, the mountains and forests calm your mind, and the true locals inspire you to live and laugh in a different way.
I've had the pleasure of meeting true locals who care about the air they breathe, the land they walk on and grow from, and the waters they eat from and play in. It's been refreshing, to say the least, to meet people who are also conscious and mindful of themselves and their home; people who are willing to care enough to take action and spread that knowledge and inspiration to others.
You may call them "hippies". I call them "activators". From Hawai'i to Barcelona to Bangkok and beyond, I was always able to find those who vibrated the same frequency: those who would rather pay the extra 50 cents to buy from local farmers, those who remembered to bring their reusable shopping bags, and those who took the time to set up compost buckets and separate their plastics from glass. Those who understand the gravity and need to change our behaviours and actually take action: these are who I call "activators".
And here, I want to share with you some tips & tricks from my roots in Los Angeles. The City of Angels may be known for fashion and film, but it's also become a huge mecca for thought leaders and warriors of the environment to spread and implement these changes that your home, local & global, needs oh-so-desperately.
Important note: I'm going to warn you right now that simply buying these products are not going to change your habits - YOU will. Many like the idea of going green, but it really takes effort to just remember to use these products regularly. But once you start using them, you'll start seeing and understanding the real issue at hand and, hopefully, become an activator yourself!
Here are some products that you can start within the comforts of your home:
plastic-free sponges: You may not realize, but there are plastic fibers that help you wash off your scraps of food off your plate, and if you've ever owned a sponge, you know that there are always little bits that rip off after some uses. Where do these bits go? Down the drain of your sink and in our oceans. Try cellulose alternatives that are made with biodegradable material or loofah versions.
reusable pot scrubbers: for those who want a little more "oompf"
reusable paper towels: Yeah, I know it's not plastic, but it's still waste and it still takes a lot of time for paper to dissolve and disintegrate. The health of the planet isn't just about recycling plastic, it's also about reducing use. I'll warn you right now, it won't be easy to roll them back up again after first use and wash, but you can always stuff them into cute tissue holders or even in mason jars if you want a more "functional" look on the kitchen countertop. Here's another inspiration that takes it a step further for those who want that "roll" feel when they use paper towels.
reusable coffee filters for my fellow coffee lovers! If you're using those Nespresso coffee pods, stop: not only are these plastic pods unrecyclable (reason as to why Hamburg banned these), there is also research speculating the consequences of its aluminum makeup. If that doesn't stop you, then at least switch to the reusable ones LOVE IBIZA NOW recommends.
reusable bowl covers: you've seen the beeswax ones around (I'm sure) and while I'm a fan of reusable things (obviously), I have to be honest and say that I'm not a fan of the beeswax covers. I've bought a pack and they don't hold well enough and don't insulate anything. These ones are great since they do indeed cover the container (no matter the size) and keep the necessary humidity in the food. You can buy them or make them yourself. Also available in a silicone version.
reusable ziplock baggies: We've all come to know and love these little baggies that make storage, and our lives, easier. They're easy to place in your fridge or stash in your pack if you have a busy day ahead of you. Stasher and Leson provide some great alternatives for whichever size you're looking for.
These are my tried & true, die-hard products that I bring with me wherever I travel or set up shop, whether it's out in the middle of the desert at Burning Man, in the metropolis of Bangkok, or out by the ocean in Bali:
Hydroflask: I always thought these kind of bottles were a marketing gimmick and never gave into them until my friend joined me along my travels with her Hydroflask in Thailand: AKA 32°C and 80% humidity. We filled her bottle up with water chilled straight from the fridge and after hours of sleep, it was STILL JUST AS COLD. I bought one as soon as I returned back to the states and haven't looked back after 3 years. I even use mine to have my favorite tea with me on chilly occasions (keeps water hot for six hours). And they're super durable as I've dropped mine more than enough times - oops.
reusable coffee mugs: Keep Cup is my favorite brand just because they come in different sizes (I'm an espresso-kind-of-gal) and the glass design. The rubber grip is great while I prefer the cork version, but you can design your own! There are even some coffee shops in LA that endorse reusable cups and will give you a discount on your drink when you bring them in.
reusable utensils: Honestly, it took me a while to keep remembering to bring them with me, but once I got it into routine, it never fell out until I lost mine. I brought mine with me wherever I went and they were super useful for festivals & camping (I know, so "California"). TO-GO Ware is the most famous in California, but I don't like them because of the poor functionality even though they have a great bamboo design and include a holder. The spoon doesn't scoop as well and the fork & knife is not sharp enough to stab or cut lettuce. I much prefer these titanium ones (bonus for durable and everlasting!)
reusable grocery bags: Wherever I travel, I always try to locate the local food stores that offer bulk items since plastic packaging does add up when you want convenience on your travels. LOVE IBIZA NOW offers great options available on the island, but I also love ChicoBags since they're so thin and compact.
bonus: stainless steel straws - I'm not a stickler for straws, but I know some of you out there have a preference. You've probably seen the glass alternative and although they're prettier than the stainless steel versions, they break very easily. I've had many crack in my purse and glass doesn't do good for fabric. Check out these reusable straws that conveniently include a portable baggie!
And for my ladies
Silicone menstrual cups: Diva Cups and Moon Cups are the largest known brands when it comes to these little angels. I'll warn you right now, it's different to other methods of menstruation control, but it eliminates so much waste that us ladies produce when it comes to our monthly cycles. Think about all the bleached cotton and plastic that our modern day menstrual routines use and then maybe you can give it a try. Also, these are especially super handy for travel since they fit anywhere and you don't have to go scouting to unknown markets in the middle of a roadless village.
Reusable pads & liners: Charlie Banana is a favorite along the coast and also available in Europe. While they may not be the most seamless and convenient like the ones we're used to, it does take an effort to change habits and take into consideration the long-term effects of our decisions today. These are leakproof and stainproof so you'll never have to worry about your favorite jeans getting those pesky monthly stains, and they even include a leakproof bag for convenience of travel.
Sugar Waxing: Okay, this one may be super California of me, but ladies, your waxes produces waste as well! Those wax strips that so swiftly take away those hairs on your legs or bikini zones are non-recyclable. Sugaring has actually been around for centuries and is only made up of sugar, lemon juice, and a dash of water. 100% biodegradable and more pleasant for your skin.
Other tips & tricks
simple compost: composting can get quite complicated if you get into the nitty-gritty of it, so start off with a simple guide. Learning how to compost is a journey itself that can open many doors for you, your family, and your garden!
reducing home cleaning products: talks about ways to save money when cleaning your home, but these methods are also really useful to eliminate buying separate products for different things (buying less plastic bottles that never get used again) since it's all marketing tactics for companies to get you to buy more. This helps you think about ways to buy a few items for multiple uses.
shopping bulk: need I say more? Bring your own baggie or glass jar and reduce the plastic package waste!
xoxo Jess Yu